Saudi Boy

Saudi BoyAre you an Overseas Filipino Worker? a Balikbayan? Or do you know someone who works abroad? I'm sure most of us know at least one, right?

Well, this article is for all the hardworking Pinoys abroad, Super heroes, if you may, who dared to literally go beyond the distance just to provide a decent and more comfortable life to their dependents back home.

May this be a gentle reminder to all your life goals, para hindi naman mauwi ang lahat ng pinagpaguran n'yo sa wala...

Long-back haircut? Check.

White 'Hanes' shirt? Check.

White walking shorts? Check.

'Beach Walk' slippers? Check.

Gold bracelet? Check.

Gold necklace? Check.

Do you know this guy? You do!

Meet “Saudi Boy”
In a country that takes pride of its creative (and sometimes foolish) way of branding things out of damned wit, it's not hard to plead my case  why I chose Saudi over UK, US or whatever.
We look for Colgate when it's  Close-up we wanted. We ask for Coke while it's Pepsi  we wanted. We say Xerox, not knowing it's actually a company name, and not a verb for copying. Finally, when you ask an OFW dependent if where does his or her father works, they answer you, “Saudi!”. Who cares about Singapore, Dubai or Japan, right? Saudi rocks!
And that, friends, is what made me pick the title of this article. Ha-ha! Now seriously, I think OFWs from Saudi mirrors the struggles, misfortunes, mindset and life after overseas of most OFW who haven't yet acquainted themselves into the world of proper money mindset.
Also, my late father was once an OFW for many years in, of course, Saudi. I got the checklist above from him and some of his co-balikbayans who would visit our home back in the '90s. While the checklist of “How to spot a Balikbayan” may have already changed, a major problem still exists among many OFWs - a problem that has kept them clueless and blinded on how to make things work as planned.

That problem starts with having the “wrong mindset".

It was a problem then. It's still a problem now. And unless you start the change today, more generations will still get trapped by the wrong belief that Working Abroad = Instant Yaman! Heck, we all even have that one friend who made it a life-long dream to work abroad.

“Makapag-abroad lang ako, <INSERT DREAMS HERE>”

Call it a drug, a cure, a sign, a blessing or whatever, for many people, being in overseas seems to be an escape from poverty, problems and the poor government!

Let's talk about you
OFWs are close to my heart, it is you who deserves more in life because of the sacrifices you have to endure all these years. Besides, my father, sister, brother and in-laws are working abroad, so I've seen the struggles and mistakes.

Vague plans for the future
It normally starts with the wrong reasons for leaving your beloved families in the first place. Either to pay-off a huge debt or a plan to have more money to send your kids to school or have a better and more comfortable life, the ending are still the same when you have no clear plans of what you want to do in life after your contract expires. 

Today, the most common plan is to work for x number of years and run a business after exiting from the country. Does it ring a bell? Unfortunately, once you encounter the greener pasture and started earning about twice or as much as 5 times your income here in the Philippines, you start to lose focus. You start to indulge with buying things that are not even part of the plan.

Suddenly, you now wanted to buy a new car, another house, renovate a newly renovated house, buy Wii for Junior, Xbox for Boy, new iPhone for Cara. And, oh, it won't leave the bucket list, a gold necklace or bracelet for you and the entire family!
The reason behind all these impulsive spending may somehow be attributed to the longing for your families, which is rightfully and understandably so. You compensate the missing link by material things that would somehow alleviate the pain of being away from your family. Those smiles  while your family open those Balikbayan boxes?


Except that  it normally lasts shorter than the warranty period of all the gadgets you bought.
Except that no gadget can still replace your presence on all those special occasions. Ever.

Huwag lang #iPoniPon pag may time, dapat #iPoniPon HABANG may time.

The point here is to never lose focus on the goal! You're not getting younger. Let me help you have
some sense of urgency in your plans by asking,

“If today, you received a notice that you're being deported back here in the Philippines for good and will NEVER be allowed to set foot on any foreign country again, how ready are you?”
   “But we still have bills to pay!”
   “I just got a car loan!”
   “My son is still in college!”
   “Bahala na siguro, may awa ang Diyos.”

If one of them is the first thing that crossed your mind, maybe it's time to  re-think about your plans and start acting on their fulfillment. And by 'acting', I didn't mean you render more overtime or get a third and fourth job, but to start studying how money works, investing and saving, not for the upcoming fiesta, but for your goal such as retirement or business when you get home.

But you can't do it alone, trust me. What you'll need is to talk with your family or dependents first about your plans, so that they would adjust to the “extras” that you plan to cut or minimize.

Dress to Impress
I think this is mostly true for people, not just OFWs. They're everywhere! From Makati to Ortigas, from North all the way to the South! But it's hard not to notice that people take exception for OFWs, especially your, uhmm, relatives. People think highly on people who has set foot on a foreign country a.k.a the promised land. I can clearly recall how our entire clan would fetch my father from the airport. Hail a taxi? Eew! Bring a jeepney! Viola! It's an automatic fiesta for the neighborhood!

Again, time has changed many things. You'll no longer see jeepneys now being used to fetch balikbayans, 'coz duh, may Uber at Grab na  kaya!? But still, many people are still excited for your homecoming! 
   “Kelan ka papainom?”

   “Pare, kunin kita Ninong ha?”

   “Kelan ka pa dumating? Sa'n na pasalubong ko?”

   “Wow! Mars, ang ganda naman ng relos mo, arbor ko na yan ha?”

   “Jepoy, alam mo ba nung maliit ka pa..............?” (You know what's next, right?)

Once you're 20 years old
You know too well that you worked hard for the last two, three or even five years away from your loved ones, and never did these people bother to even say “Hi!” or ask “How you're doing?”,  yet here you are, having so much trouble just to say “No” or “Pass”.
So there, feeling an outright shame (or lack of it) as if you owe them a lot,  you just say yes to whatever they ask of you 'til you're left with nothing again but the money you need to go back to “Saudi

Then you're back to square one.

Soon you'll be 60 years old
Are you familiar with this scenario? Or should the question be, does this happen to you or your working member of the family, where the money you spent in a month-long vacation equals or even exceeds your allowance for almost a year? Then maybe it's time to learn when to say “No!”.

Here, maybe we can all learn a thing or two from my High School friend:

   Classmate: “Uy, pahingi naman ng papel!”

   Friend: “Sorry, hindi ka kasama sa budget ng Mama ko.”
Weather-weather lang 'yan 
Here's one classic story for the ages - a sweet revenge! May it be a story of wanting more in life because you grew up poor or you're motivated in life because your neighbor or relative once ridiculed you about having and being nothing, such would-have-been-a-great success story unfortunately becomes a plot for a bitter ending when your motives take a sour turn. The worse part is when your own family have to take the burden.

I'm talking about broken families, those that were a result of lack of communication, understanding and failed expectations. I'm sure it's just a normal story you hear, about a married man having an affair to also a married woman. While we were thankful that my father never had such an affair, I witnessed some close relatives' family broke into pieces because of cheating. I guess what sometimes push OFWs to do the what-seemed-to-be-unimagineable-before-going-abroad, aside from the more obvious culprit named “homesickness”, is the attachment-gone-cold.

How can you say if it's happening?
   Wife: “Hello, Papa?”

   Husband: “Hello, Ma? Kamusta jan?”

   Wife: “Ok lang. Kelan ka magpapadala ng pera?”

What's Next?
Now that somehow (I sincerely hope so) you were able to realize some of the wrong things you've been doing, or lack of action for doing the right things, it's time to start planning for the better days ahead.

So where do you start? Start first with yourself. It's time to cut-off the time you spend watching, reading and sharing nothing but negative and non-sense articles or news. Instead, you should start reading business books, articles or watch programs that tackles success stories of businessmen. But you must remember that, as Zig Ziglar once said, motivation, just like taking a bath, doesn't last long (that's why it's recommended daily). So feed your mind and body with positivity and inspiration, and make sure that just before they expire and leave you, you use them to act on your plans.

Thanks for reading this article. I hope that this would help you and your plans to prosper. If you find this helpful, please share it to your friends (OFWs or not) so they can have a clearer vision in life as well.

Cheers to a better future for you and your loved ones, dahil kay tagal mo mang mawala, babalik at babalik ka rin...

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  1. tama talaga eh,thanks for this reminder

  2. Amazing article! thank you! ^_^

  3. Maraming Salamat, Nagising nanaman ako

  4. maganda basahin..

  5. Arlyn RascanoDecember 12, 2017

    Salamat sa paalala


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